Sunday, April 03, 2016

That Other Eye in the Sky

"That Eye, The Sky" is not a movie starring Helen Mirren, it is a play by Richard Roxburgh and Justin Monjo, adapted from the book of the same name by Tim Winton. I went along to last night's performance at the New Theatre in Sydney, not really knowing what to expect. I came out a few hours later not understanding what I had seen.

The play is set in Western Australia, around the current day. Ort (played by Joel Horwood) is a bit "slow" according to family and friends. He has more than the usual difficulties of being a teenager, with an ex-hippy mother, a father and grandmother in wheelchairs, plus an annoying older sister and a hobo preacher hanging around. Ort is obsessed with a glowing cloud hovering over his house, which only he (and the audience) can see: is this god? My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 this is not, but it is a story about the obligations of  family.

Set Designer, Tom Bannerman, has produced a sparse set with a glowing and, at times, pulsating "cloud" hovering overhead. At times I had to cover my eyes as the pulsating light was too bright. Even when not pulsating, the "cloud" dominating proceedings and tended to distract from the actors.

If you are a Tim Winton fan, then this play might be for you. The cast make a fine job of the material, but it is very hard work for the audience.

"That Eye, The Sky" is on at the New Theatre in Sydney until 16 April 2016.

ps: The Australian National University (ANU) was criticized in the Canberra Times newspaper, over plans to demolish its theatre spaces to re-develop part of the campus. The new development is not planned to have a dedicated drama theater, but will have multi-purpose spaces which could be used. Perhaps this new venue could be named the "ANU Roxburgh Center for the Performing Arts", as Richard Roxburgh is a graduate of ANU.

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